COLO - It didn’t take long for Colo-NESCO to adjust to the aerial attack of Melcher-Dallas in a battle between two top 8-man District 5 football teams Friday in Colo.

Melcher-Dallas entered the game with an outstanding pitch-catch combo of receiver Ethan Harrington and quarterback Paul Karpan. But Colo-NESCO completely shut down the duo over the final three quarters, and a powerful rushing attack on offense helped the Royals pull away for an impressive 80-18 victory.

“A lot of people were saying their quarterback is going to torch our defense,” Colo-NESCO linebacker Garrett Packer said. “I feel like we did a great job containing him. It was a great win for our team.”

Karpan entered the game averaging 200 yards through the air and Harrington nearly 122 yards receiving.

The Saint combo hurt Colo-NESCO on a 30-yard touchdown early in the first quarter. Karpan threw another scoring pass to Sam Houston later in the quarter to make the score 16-12 in favor of Colo-NESCO.

From then on it was all Royals. Senior defensive back Philip Bower stepped up to hold Harrington in check the rest of the game as Colo-NESCO scored 50 unanswered points, handing Melcher-Dallas its first loss of the season.

“My goal was to stay on 50 (Harrington) the whole night,” Bower said. “I just sagged off a little bit because I knew he liked the deeper routes so I’d have a better chance to stay with him.”

Harrington only had four catches for 77 yards and Karpan was limited to 117 yards on 10 of 28 passing. Bower, Mason Lytle and Jack McKinney each intercepted one pass on the night for the Royals.

Colo-NESCO also was strong against the run. Melcher-Dallas picked up 159 yards rushing, but the Royal varsity defense only allowed six yards on 14 attempts. Colo put in their JV team after scoring its first touchdown of the second half.

Bryce Niemeyer had six tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss to anchor the Royal defense. Packer totaled 3.5 tackles and one sack, Alex Grover delivered 4.5 tackles and one stop behind the line and Francis Bower and Colin Hall each contributed half a sack.

On offense Colo-NESCO racked up 540 yards. The Royals did the bulk of their damage on the ground, picking up 496 yards on just 43 carries.

Bower ran wild behind a stout Royal line. He finished with 190 yards and five touchdowns on just 11 carries.

“The offensive line was just giving me huge holes and I was hitting them fast,” Bower said.

Packer ended up with 120 yards and two touchdowns rushing and he also completed one pass for 17 yards.

“Our line was just making really big holes for us,” Packer said. “I knew I was bigger and more physical than some of their guys, so I knew I could drop the shoulder and get through them.”

Sean Cutler completed 2 of 3 passes for 25 yards and Lytle ran for 39 yards and one touchdown. Brighton Clatt picked up 78 yards and one touchdown and Francis Bower 63 yards and one score rushing in mop-up time for the Royals.

Colo-NESCO will take a 3-1 overall record and 2-0 district mark into next Friday’s game at Twin Cedars. The game will start at 7 p.m. in Bussey.

Melcher-Dallas dropped to 3-1 overall and 1-1 in the district.

Colo-NESCO 80, Melcher-Dallas 18

MD 12 0 6 0 - 18

CN 24 26 16 14 - 80


First quarter

CN - Philip Bower 26 run (Garrett Packer run), 8:48.

MD - Ethan Harrington 30 pass from Paul Karpan (pass failed), 7:24.

CN - Mason Lytle 15 run (Packer run), 6:26.

MD - Sam Houston 15 pass from Karpan (run failed), 5:40.

CN - Bower 13 run (Packer run), 3:06.

Second quarter

CN - Bower 11 run (run failed), 11:34.

CN - Bower 34 run (Lytle run), 10:01.

CN - Packer 49 run (run failed), 8:25.

CN - Packer 10 run (pass failed), 0:26.

Third quarter

CN - Bower 48 run (Cutler run), 6:33.

CN - Brighton Clatt 27 run (Kelly Gray pass from Clatt), 2:38.

MD - Joe Branson 47 run (pass failed), 0:00.

Fourth quarter

CN - Ethan Wilson 2 pass from Clatt (Jack McKinney kick),9:47.

CN - Francis Bower 15 run (McKinney kick), 1:21.

Team statistics M-D C-N

Rushes-yards 25-159 43-496

Passing 10-31-3 4-5-0

Passing yards 117 44

Total yards 276 540

Fumbles lost 1 0

Punts-average 3-33.0 NA

Individual statistics

Rushing: MD - Joe Branson 9-124, Paul Karpan 10-22, Kevin Jones 2-7, Dalton Lovell 3-5, Ethan Harrington 1-1. CN - Philip Bower 11-190, Garrett Packer 14-120, Brighton Clatt 4-78, Francis Bower 4-63, Mason Lytle 9-39, Sean Cutler 1-6.

Passing: MD - Karpan 10-28-2-117, Ryan Karpan 0-3-1-0. CN - Cutler 2-3-0-25, Packer 1-1-0-17, Clatt 1-1-0-2.

Receiving: MD - Harrington 4-77, Blaise Cooper 2-18, Sam Houston 1-16, Lovell 3-6. CN - Lytle 3-42, Ethan Wilson 1-2.

Tackles: MD - P. Karpan 10, Lovell 9.5, Josh Davenport 4, Harrington 3, Cory Cevellera 3. CN - Bryce Niemeyer 6, Alex Grover 4.5, Packer 3.5, Wilson 3.5, F. Bower 3, Kelly Gray 3.

Sacks: MD - P. Karpan 2. CN - Packer 1, F. Bower 0.5, Colin Hall 0.5.

Fumble recoveries: CN - Cutler.

Interceptions: CN - P. Bower, Lytle, Jack McKinney.